Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cooling the Chiles Amid the Wind Damage


We had some high winds last week. Some people lost power and a few trees were knocked down.  Our damage was limited to a couple of broken ribs in this old patio umbrella.


Our top producing plant in the garden, the hot chile plant, gets a little rangy this time of year.


Time to cut it back...I cut the plant to half its height.


Then, I tie up up to a stake to keep it upright.


After that, I notice a couple of good chiles on the Anaheim chile plant. Those will be helpful in this week's cooking.


That, some deadheading, mowing, and other trimming fill our compost can over the brim.


The yard looks better when done, could probably stand to use a sweeping but there's no more room in the can.

Maybe next week.

Darryl
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring Update


At the end of last summer, my lawn was a brown patch of drought parched straw.


Carefully watching the weather to maximize free water, overseeding with drought tolerant and heat tolerant grass, and adjusting the limited amount of water we're legally allowed to put on it...the lawn is making a bit of a comeback here in the middle of April.


The dandelion patrol has done some great things to limit those weeds but there's still quite a few mixed in with the grass but the war continues on that front.

I would be nice if my neighbors would take care of their weeds, too, since that's where the majority of the seeds come from.


I had my first session of deadheading the roses this weekend.


After, the front yard bushes look much cleaner.


Our first vegetable harvest were these onions with came from a recycled piece of an onion in the fridge (more on that later in the season).


I used them to make this delicious penne dish...


and this asparagus ham soup. You can find those recipes on our sister blog, Sunday Sauce.

Darryl
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 4, 2016

New Transplants to the Neighborhood

Picture by Letty Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Our seedlings have been living the plush, comfortable life in a tray in our family room window.  Sorry kids, out you go...



It's time to show these youngsters the way outside where they will now have to sink or swim in the cold, cruel world.

Actually, it's pretty warm now that spring is here and we've made a nice, comfortable, and nutritional bed for them with our tilling.



The little peat pockets I've started them in snap right off of the tray.



Next, a small hole is just right for that little peat pot.  The plant stays in it as the whole thing is put in the ground so no transplant shock and the peat serves as food for the plant.



Time to water in.



Some plants, like the tomatoes and this canteloupe, need some protection from predators so I put this wire basket around them to keep the bad guys at bay.



Now, they're all part of the garden. Let's get ready for the harvest later.

Darryl
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring has Sprung


Time to just shut up, sit back, and enjoy some of the fruits of all this labor...



This year's best cymbidium.


It's a cross between cymbidium devonianum 'stewart' crossed with stargold 'lucky strike'. Six pendant spikes just filled with beautiful flowers.


Mr. Lincoln shows what a classic red rose should look like.


Double Delight


Peace


Angel Face


Bletilla orchid

Darryl
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Preparing for Christmas in March


It's way overdue but I'm finally tackling the Christmas cactus this weekend. By my reckoning, it's been in it's basket for at least 6 years now.

In that time, another plant...a kalanchoe 'mother of thousands' (bryophyllum diagremontianum)...volunteered into the basket (that's the leaves with all the little leaflets in the picture above...the pink flowers are the Christmas cactus).


Removing the plant from the basket, I see the only soil left is whatever the roots could hang onto for themselves.


It's a bit of a delicate operation to remove it from the basket without too much damage. 


The kelanchoe is in bloom. It has pretty flowers, I'm going to save a piece and put it in it's own pot.


Here's a few pieces of the kelanchoe that I'm putting aside for later.


A coconut husk mat goes in to line the basket. This will provide a good rooting medium and also help keep the soil intact.  It's very well draining and should help prevent rot, which is never good in a succulent like this.


I put in some fine orchid bark in the bottom to assist in draining. It will also break down slowly and extend the life of the potting soil I'm putting on top of it and, to be honest, I don't really have enough potting mix to go around today so this helps me to fill the basket properly.


Once I get the plant in place where I want it, it's just a matter of filling in and tamping with potting soil then watering in.


There, all done. Just hanging it back up on its original shepherd's hook to recuperate. I'll be moving it under the eave later and giving it a dripper to irrigate.


The kelanchoe gets similar treatment but will now be growing in its own pot on the orchid bench.

Darryl
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Battle Aftermath...Mopping up Pockets of Resistance


After the carpet bombing of the dandelion invasion a couple of weeks ago, I think I can go back to a more organic, manual battle of the weeds.

See those pretty yellow flowers at the top? They're evil. Evil, I tell you. 

Left alone, by the afternoon they will be a cloud of weed seed on a stalk. A slightest breeze will set hundreds of seeds loose across your lawn and it seems like they have a germination rate of 99.9%

So, now that I've hit 'em hard with poison, here's the two-prong approach to dandelion control...



Every time I cross the lawn, if I see those flowers, they're plucked and thrown away immediately.

Secondly, each time I head out to garden, I've set a goal of uprooting a minimum of 12 plants.



I stick the blade of the hoe in at the edge of the plant...



...push it in with my foot, lever it up and pull it out by the roots.



Since I'm about to mow the lawn, I just toss it on the ground to suck it up with the mower.

Today, I got 17 uprooted. We'll see how this new strategy goes.

Darryl
Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Repelling a Chinese Invasion


I don't grow them but my neighbors on each side of me do. That would be the Chinese elm.

They're pretty trees but their seeds go everywhere and make stubborn seedlings.

Those weeds can be tough to pull out with their deep roots.  I've got this one next to the driveway, so I need to get it out right away.


The hoe just isn't getting it done. There's something hard underground that bends the blade.


I dig in deeper and find it's not a seedling but a sprout coming up from a thick root.   I get the loppers and cut each end.


After fighting for several minutes, I get it out. Just look at the size of that root.

Darryl
Copyright 216 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved